Last updated by at .

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Virtual Machine Manager

Tag: Private Cloud

Microsoft Cloud OS

Free Microsoft Cloud OS webinar series in March and April

In March and April I will present together with Microsoft and itnetx in webinars about the Microsoft Cloud OS. The webinars will be free and will cover an overview about the Microsoft Cloud OS. The Microsoft Cloud OS is the story behind the latest releases of Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V System Center, Windows Azure Pack and Windows Azure. The webinar series will be split in three different sessions and will cover how you can plan, build and operate a Microsoft Cloud and how you can bring the Private & Public Cloud together to make use of a Hybrid Cloud model.

Webinar 1 - Microsoft Cloud OS: Overview

Presenter: Markus Erlacher, Marcel Zehner

Webinar 2 - Microsoft Cloud OS: Planning & Architecture

25.März 2014, 09:00-10:00
Presenter: Thomas Maurer

Webinar 1 - Microsoft Cloud OS: Operation

02.April 2014, 09:00-10:00
Presenter: Thomas Maurer, Philipp Witschi

All three webinars will be free and will held in German.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Private CLoud Storage and Virtualization

Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters

Yesterday Microsoft released the Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters. This includes overviews over Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, Scale-Out File Server, Storage Spaces and much more. These posters provide a visual reference for understanding key private cloud storage and virtualization technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2. They focus on understanding storage architecture, virtual hard disks, cluster shared volumes, scale-out file servers, storage spaces, data deduplication, Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, and virtual hard disk sharing.

Bedsides the overview poster, Microsoft Includes the following Mini-Posters:

  • Virtual Hard Disk and Cluster Shared Volumes Mini Poster
  • Virtual Hard Disk Sharing Mini Poster
  • Understanding Storage Architecture Mini Poster
  • Storage Spaces and Deduplication Mini Poster
  • Scale-Out and SMB Mini Poster
  • Hyper-V and Failover Clustering Mini Poster

You can get the posters from the Microsoft download page.

Microsoft TechNet Conference 2013 am 12. & 13. November 2013 in Berlin

TechNet Conference 2013 – Fabric Management with Virtual Machine Manager Session Online

From 11. to 12. November the first Microsoft Germany TechNet Conference 2013 took place in Berlin, Germany. I had the chance to present a session about Virtualization Fabric Management with System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager and Hyper-V. There were also some other great session from other Microsoft MVPs like Carsten Rachfahl, Aidan Finn, Maarten Goet, Daniel Neumann, Damian Flynn, Benedict Berger and many more. At this time thanks to Microsoft Germany for this great event and the opportunity to talk at this event.

Last week Microsoft published the sessions (German) online:

TechNet Conference 2013: Virtualisierungsinfrastruktur verwalten – Fabric Management mit Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2

TechNet Conference Session

have fun and a good start into the week.

Hyper-V over SMB Multichannel

Hyper-V over SMB: SMB Multichannel

As already mentioned in my first post, SMB 3.0 comes with a lot of different supporting features which are increasing the functionality in terms of performance, security, availability and backup. Here are some quick notes about some of the features which make the whole Hyper-V over SMB scenario work, this time SMB Multichannel.

SMB Multichannel was designed to solve two problems, first make the path from the Hyper-V host (SMB Client) to the File Server or Scale-Out File Server (SMB Server) redundant and get more performance by using multiple network paths. If you are using iSCSI or Fiber Channel you use MPIO (Multipath-IO) to use multiple available paths to the storage. For normal SMB traffic you may be used NIC Teaming to achieve that. SMB Multichannel is a much easier solution which offers great performance. SMB Multichannel will automatically make use of different network adapters which are configured with different IP subnets.

In my tests and the environment I have build for customers, I have seen great performance with SMB Mutlichannel. It works “better” as NIC Teaming because most of the time you just get one active network interface except you use LACP and stuff like which requires the configuration of network switches with cheap switches you may lose redundancy. The same with MPIO, MPIO most of the time works great but you can sometimes not get the performance you should get in an active/active configuration. With SMB Multichannel I can simply bundle two or even more NICs together and Multichannel will make use of all of them.

Hyper-V over SMB Multichannel

Btw. SMB Mutlichannel is also a must have if you are using RDMA NICs, because of the redundancy you only get with SMB Multichannel.

SMB Mutlichannel and NIC Teaming

SMB Mutlichannel does also work in combination with Windows Server NIC Teaming. But the feature SMB Direct (RDMA) does not allow you to use NIC Teaming or the Hyper-V Virtual Switch, because you would loose the RDMA functionality.

How do you setup SMB Multichannel?

Well the setup of SMB Multichannel is quite easy because it’s enabled by default, but there are some things you should now about SMB Multichannel for designing your environment or just to troubleshoot an installation.

Verify SMB Multichannel

Verify that SMB Multichannel is active on the client

Verify that SMB Multichannel is active on the server

You can also disable or enable Mutlichannel if you need to.

To see if all the right connections are used you can use the following commands on the client to see all the SMB connections and verifiy that all SMB Mutlichannel connections are open and using the write protocol version.

SMB Mutlichannel Constraint

Another thing you have to know about SMB Mutlichannel is how you limit the SMB connection to specific network interfaces. For example, you have a Hyper-V hosts which has an 1 gigabit network adapter for management and stuff and you have two 10Gbit (or greater) RDMA interfaces which should be used for the connection to the storage, you want to make sure that the Hyper-V hosts only uses the RDMA network interface to connected to the storage. With a simple PowerShell cmdlet you can limit the Hyper-V host to only access a file shares with the RDMA interfaces.

  • Fileshare where the Virtual Machines are stored: \\SMB01\VMs01
  • Name of the 1 GBit network interface for Management and stuff: Management
  • Name of the RDMA interfaces: RDMA01 and RDMA02

Make sure you run this on every Hyper-V host, not on the SMB file server.


Make sure you DNS is also setup correctly. So all SMB interfaces should be registered in DNS, otherwise you risk a single point of failure. And if you working with a SOFS (Scale-Out File Server) Cluster Multichannel will not work with the correct DNS entries.

Well there is a little bit more behind SMB Multichannel but  this should give you a great jumpstart into this feature. If you want to know more about SMB Multichannel checkout Jose Barretos (Microsoft Corp.) blog post on The basics of SMB Multichannel.

System Center Advisor now adds Monitoring for Virtual Machine Manager

System Center Logo

Daniele Muscetta posted a blog article on the System Center Operations Manager Engineering Blog some days ago that System Center Advisor now supports System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager.

If you have Virtual Machine Manager servers in your environment, look for new alerts about their configuration – and that of their agents.
This represents the first step towards providing proactive guidance and configuration best practices for all System Center components that power your private cloud infrastructure

It’s great to see that the integration between the different parts of the System Center product family gets even better connected.

Where can I learn more about Advisor?

If you are not familiar with System Center Advisor – what it is, what it does and how it works, please refer to:

  • This couple of blog post

  • This TechED presentation (Joseph starts speaking about Advisor at about 41:25)
  • The official System Center Advisor website

System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager Update Rollup 3 available

System Center Logo

Microsoft just releaed Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 SP1 which includes updates and fixes for Virtual Machine Manager, Data Protection Manager, Operations Manager and App Controller.

Virtual Machine Manager Update Rollup 3

The Update Rollup 3 for Virtual Machine Manager includes fixes for 25 issues. The Update Rollup includes fixes for the Virtual Machine Manager Server, Console and Agent.

  • Virtual Machine Manager Administration Console Update (KB2858509)
  • Virtual Machine Manager Server Update (KB2858510)
  • Virtual Machine Manager Guest Agent Update (KB2858511)

Which fix the following issues:


How to configure Availability Sets in Virtual Machine Manager

System Center Logo

Microsoft first introduced Availability Sets in Windows Azure and with System Center 2012 SP1 this feature also came to the Private Cloud. Availability Sets are used to keep virtual machines separate from each other so they do not run on the same physical host. This works via anti-affinity rules inside a Hyper-V host cluster, but with System Center Virtual Machine Manager allows you to do this even with standalone hosts, which makes really sense since you can move virtual machines without downtime in your whole datacenter via Shared Nothing Live Migration..

If you create an Availability Set in Virtual Machine Manager for two different virtual machines, Virtual Machine Manager will attempt to keep those virtual machines on separate hosts and avoid placing them together on the same host whenever possible. This helps to improve service update for these virtual machines, especially if you run a guest cluster for example SQL server, Exchange or even an IIS web server farm behind load balancers.

If you have configured anti-affinity rules inside a Hyper-V cluster you know that the only way to do this is via Windows PowerShell and it’s not really straightforward as we maybe wish. And as already mentioned anti-affinity rules do only work inside a cluster.

In Virtual Machine Manager (System Center 2012 SP1 or System Center 2012 R2) this is quite easy. First you open the properties of one of the virtual machines you want to include in the availability set. Select the Hardware Configuration tap and go to Availability. As you can see in my screenshot this is a non clustered virtual machine and I still can configure availability sets (Of course this would work with clustered VMs as well). Click on “Manage availability sets”.

Virtual Machine Manager Availability Sets VM Config

Now create a new availability set for your service (virtual machines). It makes sense to choose a good name for that.

Create Virtual Machine Manager Availability Set

After you have created the availability set the set will automatically be assigned to the virtual machine.

Assign  Virtual Machine Manager Availability Set

After you saved the configuration of the first virtual machine you can edit the second virtual machine and assign the same Availability set, which you have already created.

Assign  Virtual Machine Manager Availability Set

Virtual Machine Manager will attempt to keep those two virtual machines on separate hosts if possible.